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Mountainview Family,   

Happy New Year! It occurred to me this year that my new year’s traditions are not consistent at all. Some years it’s been a special word to think about, while other years I’ve made a resolution to work toward.

What will be my focus for 2023? At least a part of it will be that I want to know Jesus — really know Him… You’ve heard me talk about reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) over and over during 2022. Doing this has caused me to embrace Jesus more, and has strengthened my resolve to try to emulate His life every day I live. 

Over the past few weeks, I found myself being drawn back to one of my favorite books (I have many). It’s Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters by N.T. Wright. It has reminded me why I’m committed to doing the Kingdom work of Jesus on earth. The things Jesus said and did really transformed lives. He transformed hearts then, and He still does today.  

When we read the Gospels, it’s clear who was in charge. Jesus taught as if He was in charge. He healed as if He was in charge. He behaved as if He was in charge. This is why Wright says:  

Jesus—the Jesus we might discover if we really looked!—is larger, more disturbing, more urgent than we—than the church!—had ever imagined.

At Mountainview, we have studied the Gospels of Mark and John over the past four or five years. If anything was clear, it was that Jesus wasn’t the kind of King the first century people were looking for. In many ways, it’s still true today. There are times when modern American Christianity looks at Jesus –- the real Jesus –- and we wouldn’t be able to pick Him out of a lineup. Wright argues:  

We want a “religious” leader, not a king! We want someone to save our souls, not rule our world! Or, if we want a king, someone to take charge of our world, what we want is someone to implement the policies we already embrace, just as Jesus’s contemporaries did. But if Christians don’t get Jesus right, what chance is there that other people will bother much with him?  

We have to get Jesus right. If we don’t, we’re going to miss more than we can imagine. Especially the purpose of our church as we continue to fulfill the mission of Jesus by affecting life change. It is our responsibility as Jesus' followers to continue building God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. As for the role of the church, Wright wrote: 

The church is not supposed to be a society of perfect people doing great work. It’s a society of forgiven sinners repaying their unpayable debt of love by working for Jesus’s kingdom in every way they can, knowing themselves to be unworthy of the task.  

The task feels daunting. Sometimes I don’t even know where to begin in light of all the problems. Except while reading the Gospels, there’s Jesus, showing the deepest love, compassion, and trust to people, even those with terrible behavior. What I know for sure is that Jesus is still at work and I want to be a part of it. Wright says:   

In God’s kingdom, humans get to reflect God at last into the world, in the way they were meant to. They become more fully what humans were meant to be. That is how God becomes king. That is how Jesus goes to work in the present time.  

Jesus is at work in me and in the world around me. I’m making it my life mission to join Him. Will you?   

I hope you can join us Sunday at 9:00 or 10:40 am as we continue in our mini-series ALL IN. This Sunday we will specifically look at Mountainview’s mission and the way we contribute to transformation in HIS Kingdom on earth.   

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Tom